As part of the University’s mission to expand work‐related opportunities for students and to contribute to its communities in positive, impactful ways, the School of Organisations, Economy and Society have launched the Social Impact Hub.
The University of Westminster is a social enterprise, and is the first university in London to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, guaranteeing Westminster’s commitment to creating positive social change and maximising social impact. The Social Impact Hub is a reflection of these commitments and will operate in the not-for-profit sector to develop employability skills of students and help tackle social and global challenges by contributing to the community in positive ways.
The Hub will coordinate work experience for undergraduate and postgraduate students, who will collaborate with ethical partner organisations such as NGOs, charities and social enterprises to help address their projects. Students will apply their learning and utilise their research and problem skills in supporting organisations on a voluntary basis. In exchange, the Hub asks that these organisations provide students with work experience.
Examples of ways that students can contribute to organisations include supporting them in revising their business plans during COVID-19 or Brexit, and sharing good HR practice on training and development, performance management, gender pay gap, compensation and benefits and legal compliance. Students can guide entrepreneurs in setting up social enterprises. For NGOs, students can also conduct research and help with fundraising, lobbying and marketing.
In its initial launch, the Hub already has a strong base of partners, including Great Ormond Street Hospital, Hale Hamilton, Gallagher, Church Street and Haringey Council.
Dr Lilian Miles and Simon Richardson, who are managing The Social Impact Hub, said: “We are very excited about this initiative. The Hub is a tool with which we as a School, can further our knowledge exchange activities. We want to use the talent and potential of our students to benefit users in the non-academic sector. Specifically, we want to work with the ethical organisations sector- NGOs, charities, social enterprises and CICs. So, we are inviting organisations to identify tasks or projects which they think we, through our students, can help address. We will support you, free of charge. What we ask from organisations, is to offer our students work experience opportunities.
The Hub will also develop employability skills of students, because students will work in real-life situations, and use their knowledge to develop solutions for organisations. In working on real-life issues, students will develop a sense of social responsibility and empowerment to contribute to the community in positive ways. And so, it is a win-win for everyone.”
The Social Impact Hub at the University of Westminster is being piloted within the School of Organisations, Economy and Society at Westminster Business School, and based on its success, will be replicated across other Schools within WBS.